03 July 2012

pmc nostalgia

I'm waiting on a bunch of work in the tumblers ... so I've been paying bills and balancing the checkbook, cutting up mangoes to freeze for sorbet with my new juicer - can't wait for that!  Walking back into my workroom, I noticed an old inspiration board peeking out from behind my mondo shelving unit.  Pulling it out, I discovered a photo that I'd recently been looking for and thought had gone missing ... well, actually it had.  I was trying to remember when I did my PMC Guild certification.  I was thinking if I could find this photo, it might have a date on it.  Turns out it did ...

... August 2000 ... those were some serious bangs I was sportin'

My certification class was pretty amazing.  It was with Tim McCreight at Arrowmont and lasted a full 5 days rather than the normal 3.  It was a memorable week for sure.

My official certification certificate - wondering if they still do this ...

Those were the early days.  I started working with original PMC in January 1998.  I remember because I'd actually bought my first 5oz package of PMC a couple of months earlier (it came in one big chunk ... I still have the hard plastic case it came in) and was afraid to open it.  I got my little bitty kiln with a manual controller and digital pyrometer in January and finally worked up my nerve to open it up and give it a try.  

The only programmable kilns available back then were about $1200.  The one I bought was about $250 and had a manual dial.  I would turn it on full blast and watch carefully for when it hit temperature.  Then I'd have to step down the control until it would hold steady at 1650 for the required 2 hours.  I still had to keep an eye on the temperature via a thermocouple that I'd insert through the peephole of the kiln.  I only melted a couple of batches and, gotta say, the melted pmc looked pretty cool ... it would sort of ball up like frozen mercury.  It was a big day when I finally found an affordable ($500) small programmable kiln from a ceramic's supplier.  

So coming across this photo also got me to wondering when the PMC Guild had begun.  Back in those days I was also a gung ho team player type.  As soon as news of the newly forming Guild arrived, I joined straight away.  Turns out, that first year there weren't very many of us.  As I found out from Tim at that certification week, he felt bad that there was this Guild and nothing was going on with it.  So he had some t-shirts made and sent them out to the members ... all 15 of us.


I used to wear my shirt when I taught workshops, but it was starting to fade and I decided it was pretty special and put it away for safe keeping.

The other thing I found out was those original few members got a special designation, "founding members."  This news came via a letter from the then Guild Director, CeCe Wire.


I guess I was also thinking about all this since the last PMC Conference just took place.  I never went to any of them.  I've just never been a very good team player.  Well, I tried at first.  I was a pretty regular contributor to the Guild newsletter and had work in 3 or 4 of the early exhibitions and I did get a piece in one of the later Guild Annuals.  But that was all done from the comfort and seclusion of home sweet home and didn't require any people skills.

I'm not really going anywhere with all of this ... it's just a bit of waxing while the tumblers are going.  Maybe to close I'll share a couple of my early 'show pieces.'  Thinking you may have seen these, but I'm still quite fond of them.  They're all tucked away in a treasure box.  Maybe I should air them out ...

PMC+ cuff

And this is all in original PMC with 24k gold - Scabbard Pendant

All those holes down the front had diamonds embedded ... they burned up ... $150 worth of raw diamonds.  About a month after I burned up all those diamonds, the Guild newsletter had an article about how not to use diamonds.  Turns out they're carbon and they start to burn around 1250 and then keep on burning ... who knew?  Here's the 24k hand inside the hinged pendant ...


Okay, time to check on the tumblers.  Hope you enjoyed my little stroll down memory lane!

l i g a - kvk

8 comments:

  1. All of that would have been a hit in Tim's "History of PMC in the US" presentation at the conference. He sure had a lot more hair back then!

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  2. It is lovely to see your stroll down memory lane and how this earlier work threads into the your current work. Umm, about those bangs, I think that in 2000 I was sporting similar of my own and I know for certain I had just about exactly the same round glasses.

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  3. I liked hearing your PMC story. I've only worked with BronzClay & am anxious to try silver.

    Yikes about the raw diamonds!

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  4. thank you so much for sharing this - i really enjoyed it... while i have so much respect for your abilities and knowledge in the medium, this is quite impressive...

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  5. Thanks everyone! I used to do a lot of 'show pieces', strutting my pmc stuff ... kind of over it, although I'll do something every now and then to see if I've still got my fancy chops. I much prefer my current 'less is more' approach. Overall, I think the Japanese minimal aesthetic has finally been absorbed into my psyche. I've come to know that you can't 'do' simplicity, you have to 'be' simplicity.

    Lela - silver pmc is soooooo much easier to work with than bronze. Much more like porcelain clay and doesn't get all powdery and annoying.

    blessings ...

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  6. i remember the wonderful necklace - you've shown it to me somewhere along the way - and i think you ought to be wearing that cuff. i remember the beaded wrap bracelet, remember the bangs (it hasn't been that long ago), the glasses. funny how things start being time-referenced by decades. i was living in the beloved house on savannah drive, just beginning my world of teaching. now i'm living quietly in the middle of nowhere, have culled back teaching venues, am still fumbling my way through PMC with a little fright every time i go to fire up the kiln. which is not that often.
    i love your simple work, most of all. xo

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    Replies
    1. An amazing journey so far .......... xo

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